The last frontier that isn't space.

The cruise ship Volendam leaving the dock in Juneau, Alaska.

Exploring an ice cave beneath the Mendenhall glacier.

I stumbled across a way of doing business when I traveled.  Inquire locally.  My favorite manor of doing that, sit at a bar, order a beer, talk to the guy next to you, find out what he knows.  I ended up sitting next to Bronson at the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, Alaska.  He had two really good pieces of advice...  Try the reindeer corn dog at the Flight Deck, and hike to the ice caves.  Both pieces of advice proved to be great.

It started at Easter.  Sitting at a table with family and friends, a good family friend told me about his upcoming adventure of sailing along the coast of Alaska with a friend of his.  "Would you like a photographer to come along and document your journey?"  His answer was yes.  Bob Brown and Dennis McNaughton are a couple of old sailors that have been friends with my dad (and the rest of my family) for as long as I can remember.  When I was a kid my dad offered me as crew to Dennis for weekly races, and Bob and his family had been a part of my family from even farther back.  I relished the opportunity to spend a little time with these two salty old sailors and see what I could learn.  Unfortunately Dennis was having a tough go living on the boat and dealing with the rougher waters and had to leave the trip early.  But this opened up an even greater opportunity to spend an even longer time with Bob on his trip.

After finishing all of my personal business in Portland, I hopped on a flight to Juneau, Alaska.  And the adventure begins.  So far the adventure included a guide telling me along my hike to the ice caves that Bronson recommended that the route was very difficult, very dangerous, and very long.  Everybody in his tour group had a sticker with Mickey Mouse's face on it, I can assume it was a tour guide for one of the Disney Cruise lines.  Once I had safely made it to the cave and back with not too much difficulty, I was forced to wonder aloud in my best Sergeant Sanborn voice "I don't know what sort of Mickey Mouse operation you're used to running, but that was neither difficult nor long to a Marine!"

Alaska's Mendenhall glacier.

Although, the route was not without risk.  At the very end of my trip to the cave, just a few feet from the cave's opening, a large rock that I had stepped next to gave way.  It began to slide with some force down to the bottom of the small scree slope, I slipped onto my ass, and a much larger rock (about 3'x3'x3') got knocked loose and began to come right at me.  I sounded out "ROCK!" to warn the people below me as these two massive rocks tumbled, the bigger one bouncing right off of my shoulder.  I never had time to panic, and I was convinced that the big rock was going to go right over the top of me, but it found an easier way downhill and took it, leaving me with nothing more than a light bruise on my shoulder.  Sergeant Sanborn sounded off "You're gonna have to try harder than that, boulder!  I'm a Marine!"

Ice cave beneath the Mendenhall glacier.  Juneau, Alaska.

This morning Bob and I cast the lines of Wings of the Dawn off to leave Juneau and head towards Glacier Bay.  The adventure continues.